After a 1.5 mile run over to the track, we did a few striders — quick pick ups to get our bodies ready for the 400 meter sprints that were upcoming for the speed workout. I was apprehensive from the start. The morning temperatures were cooler than the previous day, but still warmer than I was used to. The humidity was high, the air was thick and a strong, steady breeze blew across the track. But I was determined to stay focused on the task at hand.
Then Sue, my running buddy and coach, turned to me and said: “This are tough conditions. You can run 5-10 seconds slower.” Really? Yes really. I knew this already. I went through this with my coach last week when I struggled with a run in difficult weather conditions. I needed to make adjustments to my workout plan. Adjusting for the curve balls of life is completely different from finding “excuses.” Not doing the workout at all? Well, that would be using the weather as an excuse. Calling an audible? Well, that’s what the greats do, isn’t it?
And here’s the funny thing — knowing that I had the option to run a bit slower seemed to set me up for success. My slowest times were merely two seconds off the prescribed pace and a certain combination of humidity and wind in the far turn which felt as if it were pushing be backwards. Actually, my final 400 meter interval was one second faster than my prescribed pace. Take that weather conditions!
What struck me was the the thought of achieving success because I had permission to fail. It was just fine and dandy if I didn’t hit my times. It was going to be a tough go. And understanding the circumstances around me meant celebrating those intervals where I was two seconds slow, rather than beat myself up for being “off.” A popular saying from Dr. Wayne Dyer espouses the belief that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. I changed the way I viewed time and my intervals and what I got in return was a fabulous workout and tons of confidence. And if there is one thing I’ve learned through my athletic journey it’s that the mental game is where it’s at.
How to dream big
One of my good friends told me a secret this week. He has a goal. A big goal. And he wanted to share it with me. In a way, I felt honored that he trusted me enough to tell me his goal, knowing I would reflect back positive energy and encouragement. There are times when support is difficult to find, even among your closest friends and family members. Some offer judgement. Some try to tear you down. Some offer well-intentioned cautions. Sometimes they come from a place of caring. Sometimes they come from a place of jealously.
There’s a quote on my bulletin board. I’m not sure where it came from, but it reads:
We can’t allow our definition of what’s possible to be based on how big someone else can dream. Our dream is ours and ours alone.
There’s a chance my friend won’t accomplish his goal. He would be disappointed, but I know he has enough wisdom to learn from the challenge, to find his way to a perspective which ultimately serve his life’s journey. There’s a difference between having back-up plans, that ability to call an audible, and hedging your bets. My friend can execute Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. But all three of them include dreaming big. And his big, wild, crazy dreams inspire me to ask for what I really want in life, and then go about living as if I was already there.
Welcome to race season
This weekend kicks off triathlon season for me as I decided on a whim to participate in the Pittsford Triathlon. The swim is a 300-yard event held in a high school pool with the bike (15 miles) and run (3.3 miles) outside. I got out my triathlon backpack and started to pack, remembering all the steps necessary to execute a race along the way. (There are so many, I’ve nearly forgotten!) The race will also mark the first official triathlon for my friend, Mary, and to be honest, part of the fun will be watching her kick my ass in the swim. For me, it’s all about going hard, getting a good workout and enjoying a new event. It’s about showing up and participating, which, as I change the way I look at things, is exactly what I want my life to be about — being an active creator of my own experiences.
P.S. My brother, The Sports Media Guy, is killing it on his blog recently. Check him out.